The World in a Selfie: An Inquiry into the Tourist Age (Hardcover)
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A spirited critique of the cultural politics of the tourist age. Or, why we are all tourists who hate tourists
We've all been tourists at some point in our lives. How is it we look so condescendingly at people taking selfies in front of the Tower of Pisa? Is there really much to distinguish the package holiday from hipster city-breaks to Berlin or Brooklyn? Why do we engage our free time in an activity we profess to despise?
The World in a Selfie dissects a global cultural phenomenon. For Marco D'Eramo, tourism is not just the most important industry of the century, generating huge waves of people and capital, calling forth a dedicated infrastructure, and upsetting and repurposing the architecture and topography of our cities. It also encapsulates the problem of modernity: the search for authenticity in a world of ersatz pleasures.
D'Eramo retraces the grand tours of the first globetrotters - from Francis Bacon and Samuel Johnson to Arthur de Gobineau and Mark Twain - before assessing the cultural meaning of the beach holiday and the 'UNESCO-cide' of major heritage sites. The tourist selfie will never look the same again.
About the Author
Marco d'Eramo is an Italian journalist and social theorist. He worked at the newspaper il manifesto for over thirty years. He writes for New Left Review, MicroMega and the Berlin daily Die Tageszeitung. His books include The Pig and the Skyscraper: Chicago, A History of Our Future, which has been translated into several languages. He lives in Rome.
“Marco D’Eramo deconstructs the politics of sightseeing, and the search for authenticity within it.”
—New York Times Book Review
“The World in a Selfie is digressive, the chapters like a series of meditations that touch on various aspects of travel and tourism.”
—Sophie Haigney, New Republic
“Readable, well-researched and well-written.”
—Mik Sabiers, Morning Star
“Thought-provoking … This is an intriguing book for sociologists and economists, as well as for serious travelers wishing to understand their impact as they once again move about the globe.”
—Cindy Pauldine, Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
“A bracing, provocative examination of an all-too-human pastime.”
—Benjamin Shull, Wall Street Journal
“A fascinating journalistic approach to one the biggest influences on our economy and imaginations, The World in a Selfie spellbinds. A wonderful read for travelers and non-travelers in the new world of a pandemic.”
“The truth is that tourists have always been unpopular … The root of the stigmatisation, argues Marco D’Eramo, is the resentment of rattrapage, one social class catching up with another.”
—Tom Robbins, Financial Times
“A sophisticated, engaging, clever book.”
“Surprising and unsettling, putting certainties we take for granted into crisis.”
“Provocative and entertaining.”
“A work of intelligence and wit.”
“Fun and challenging, The World in a Selfie mixes the flavors of Mark Twain, Karl Marx, and theme parks to result in a real and welcome trip elsewhere.”
—Meredith Grahl Counts, Foreword Reviews
“A provocative take on the meanings of contemporary travel.”
—Jim Gladstone, Passport Magazine
“In a summer when all our assumptions about travel and tourism are being called into question, this engrossing book, newly translated from Italian, is the ideal guide.”
—Tom Robbins, Financial Times (“Summer books of 2021”)